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Defense argues Ricky Dubose exempt from death penalty in 2017 prison guard murders due to intellectual disability

Dubose is set to go to trial in May of this year

EATONTON, Ga. — Ricky DuBose is accused of killing two Putnam County prison guards almost 5 years ago. On Tuesday, he had a pretrial hearing where his legal team argued he has an intellectual disability that should take the death penalty off the table.

The defense and prosecution took turns examining experts and a witness about the state of Dubose's mental health. 

Dr. Matthew Norman, a forensic psychiatrist, was first on the stand, saying it would be hard to put a precise label on Dubose's mental abilities.

“I could come up with a hypothetical where, clinically, I could have an opinion to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that someone is intellectually disabled. I could not state that opinion to beyond a reasonable doubt," Norman explained. 

As the defense worked to prove that attention deficit was one of Dubose's disorders, the prosecution tried to poke holes in the findings. 

"Everyone can be inattentive regardless of whether they meet the criteria of ADHD, right?” the prosecution asked. “Well, that is correct -- we are all on an attention spectrum, for sure, that's true, yes," Norman answered.  

Defense also called Dr. Robert Frey, a psychologist who has worked in the prison system for 50 years and talked about testing for intellectual disabilities. 

“If you administer the test to a small population, the test could still be valid and could still be reliable," he explained.

Just like Donnie Rowe, his co-defendant who is now serving life in prison, Dubose faces charges including felony and malice murder. 

Donnie Rowe was found guilty last September but the jury could not agree on giving him the death penalty. Dubose's trial is scheduled for May in Eatonton.

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